When Enough Is Enough

woman standing beside white wall
Suad Kamardeen / Unsplash

Listen, Brothers, the prophets of old have fallen. They’ve led you astray without caution, so hush now, open your hearts and soften. It’s our turn to speak. Sisters who turn the other cheek, weary of nights when tears run over us like creeks, and while nobody notices the rocks digging into our skin, our tears are seen as something akin to playing the world’s smallest violin, overreaction to nothing and everything that has ever been.

But how can my skin help but cry when it’s been smeared by drunken eyes and rough hands until I couldn’t tell which way was up and that I’d had enough, enough, enough?

On high alert to toxic patriarchy, whatever that means, labels putting solutions behind screens, instead of being clear about what we want and need. Misogyny isn’t about sex, but violence. But what is violence and why am I met with silence when I point out the subtle ways it creeps up in relationships each day?

Violence towards others, pain with outward aim, always starts with inner shame and all those parts of self-disclaimed. Boys grow to be men in a world where “amens” are met with laughter or hate, and it’s impossible not to take the bait. Insidious, invidious, it’s fucking hideous what’s planted in fertile soil of people still forming, the push towards always conforming, the telepathic tactics, the spastic static ringing through attics of minds young and free. You delicate little pea, wipe your tears and don’t be a She. Be strong, don’t cry, just be a fuckin’ tough guy. Tears and fears are for those weaker than thee, healthy needs — those being safety and expressed emotionality, a space to be nurtured to some degree — are shameful, no matter how painful and human they be.

Brothers growing up not loving their true selves, shamed for feeling, so they put those feelings on a shelf, and then we’re surprised by their reaction to these needs mirrored in others and ourselves. Cuz if my tears are weak, then yours are too, and so is your need for connection and simple loving affection. You want protection, but I’ll slap you rejection as it was forced upon me, and up and down the broken family tree.

Oh Padre of the holy sea, our trusty king with heart that beats, wrap us in protection, that shimmering confection of vulnerability and strength, attuned to intertwisting wavelengths of suffering and joy, harmonic devotion, knowing every emotion brings growth to those sworn by oath not to loathe feelings as they appear, even as persistent shame draws near. Take up your spears, but turn them away from frontier of all things sincere, aiming instead towards the severe, those spinning gears that make mind unclear and the world a harsher place to live year after year.

And so we persevere, Brother, Sother, Sister, Brister — dear, here we are, all carrying similar pain, so let it reign. Surrender disdain as we all fight the same battle for inner healing reclaimed. Brothers, what we need from you, from everybody, is a resurrection of compassion for the lost parts of self you’ve slain, those parts you’ve been taught to see as imperfections, that have only led to disconnection at best, violent subjection at worst, and I know it hurts, but if you heal those parts in you, the world heals too. TC mark

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